|1||Garmin Zumo 590LMBy Garmin||9.9||Buy on Amazon|
|2||Garmin Zumo 665LM GPS Motorcycle NavigatorBy Garmin||9.6||Buy on Amazon|
|3||TomTom RIDER Motorcycle GPS Navigator with Lifetime MapsBy Tom Tom||9.5||Buy on Amazon|
|4||Garmin Zumo 660LM GPS Motorcycle NavigatorBy Garmin||9.5||Buy on Amazon|
|5||Garmin Zumo 390LM 4.3-Inch Motorcycle GPS NavigatorBy Garmin||9.4||Buy on Amazon|
An Honest Review of the Top 5 Best Motorcycle GPS Units You Can Currently Get
The thought that one day motorcycles could have GPS sounded like something depicted out of a fairytale. However, due to not only demand, but also better technology, motorcycle GPS units are now available from a wide range of manufacturers. While initially you may think that all the brands may be the same and their GPS units are very similar in terms of performance, that is not true. There are vast differences between them and some models are light years away from those of the competitors. So if you’re in the market looking for a new GPS unit for your motorcycle, then look no further since below we’re going to see what you need to consider if you want to buy the best one for your needs and budget.
How to choose the right motorcycle GPS
There are many factors to consider when you’re out shopping for a new motorcycle GPS unit. Some of them include:
Robustness: This is an essential trait to consider and that’s because, unlike a car, motorcycles emit a lot of vibrations. In turn, this may cause the GPS unit to not only fall off, but also malfunction. Therefore, it’s essential that you’ll look for a GPS unit that is resistant to shock and vibrations.
Bluetooth: As a biker, you probably know that it’s a lot more comfortable to consider getting a GPS unit that features a wireless connection. This way, you’ll easily be able to receive calls via Bluetooth, but only if your mobile phone supports this.
Battery: The GPS undoubtedly needs to have a large battery autonomy. You wouldn’t want the unit to turn off at the most inappropriate time and leave you stranded in the middle of nowhere.
Voice guidance: Voice guidance is vital for motorcycle navigation, since reading when riding your bike is dangerous and very hard as well. However, when you receive GPS instructions in your helmet, you’ll easily be able to know where you’re going or what turns you need to take to get to your destination.
Mapping: If you’re the type who only rides in a single country, then this may not be that important for you. However, if you ride in multiple countries, you may want to learn more about the GPS unit’s mapping capabilities and where and how much you need to pay for the additional maps.
Water resistance: As you may already imagine, it’s very important that the GPS unit is water resistant and that’s because as a biker, you can’t hide from the bad weather. Sure, you may be able to protect yours with a plastic bag, but getting a waterproof unit is much better.
Ergonomics: The buttons of the GPS nee dot be easily accessible even when wearing thicker gloves. You certainly want to be able to check your route on-the-fly if needed without having to take your gloves off or come to a complete stop.
Price: Last but not least, make sure you take a good look at the price of the GPS unit you’re eyeing, study the market well and then see whether it’s worth it or not.
Memory: The GPS unit may feature memory that is either HDD, flash or card based, but since you’re riding a motorcycle, you may want to disregard getting a unit that features an integrated hard drive. That’s because vibrations can easily damage it. If you opt for a card, make sure it has enough memory to store all your data.
Installation: The unit you plan on getting should come with everything required for installing it.
Garmin Zumo 665LM GPS Motorcycle Navigator
Extremely user friendly and very easy to set up custom routes. Slow updates.
If you think about it for a second, it would be amazing to always have a virtual copilot wherever you’d decide to ride your bike. Someone who knows the road better than you ever will and can recommend you and give you tips about the best way to take to arrive fast to your destination. Well, if that’s what you need, then the Garmin Zumo 665 seems to perfectly fit the bill. Not only does it have maps for the United States, but virtually for any other developed country that comes to mind. You could say that “Hey, this is nothing new, since most modern GPS units offer such features”, but the truth is that the Garmin Zumo 665 takes it one step further.
The screen on the Garmin Zumo 665 is a touchscreen which you’ll be pleased to find out it works flawlessly with gloved fingers and you can read off of it even in bright sunlight. While not many GPS units for motorcycles are resistant to UV rays, fuel sprays and are waterproof, the Zumo 665 is therefore prefect if you’re the type of rider who likes to ride his bike in all kinds of weather conditions and environments.
As you may expect, the kit includes all the hardware required to install the GPS and the good news is that it fits tubular handlebars very well. If you need other types of mounts, then you may want to get in touch with the manufacturer for more information.
However, as you may very well know, there are some motorcycles that basically lack a fuel gage, but that’s not a problem for the Zumo 665. That’s because unlike other GPS systems, it has a gauge that can be easily calibrated for a bike’s average mileage and gas tank. Better yet, the unit also comes with a low fuel warning alert, so you know exactly when you need to refill.
A feature you’ll probably love and one that’s going to be stuck with you is the fact that you can select between male and female icons, depending on your gender. It’s a tiny detail, but one that makes a big impression.
Okay, we spoke a lot about the screen, but didn’t tell you about its basic specs. The Garmin Zumo 665 comes with a 4.3 inch screen with a sixteen by nine ratio and it allows you to select from 3 different views, including 3D, track up and north always up. While other GPS units will display data such as compass direction, sunset, sunrise, average speed, but also trip mileage, trip time and elevation, with the Garmin Zumo 665 you can select up to 4 of them and have them displayed in panels that go along the navigation screen.
If you want to select a destination for your next, trip, doing so is simpler than you think. All you have to do is type it in and then hit Go. You’ll then receive voice directions and text information about how you can get there.
If you love listening to music while riding your bike, the Garmin Zumo 665 definitely has you covered in this department as well. Since it’s Bluetooth enabled, it can be easily linked to your Bluetooth in-helmet headset and mobile phone. This means you can listen to your favorite audio books or music while riding towards your destination. Even better, the 665 comes with a subscription to XM Radio and an XM antenna. But if you want to be up to date with the weather information, all you have to do is add XM NavWeather to it. Lastly, you can also be warned about congested traffic areas and re-routes if you go ahead and install XM NavTraffic.
TomTom RIDER Motorcycle GPS Navigator with Lifetime Maps
Excellent IPX7 rating and lifetime map updates. Average customer support.
It’s universally accepted that the greatest challenge of creating a motorcycle global positioning system is figuring out how to develop one that can be securely and easily mounted on the bike, because a beanbag or a suction cup mount are certainly not a reliable solution. To solve this problem, TomTom decided it would be better to team up with Ram Mount in order to develop a mounting kit that was specifically designed for this model. We’re specifically talking about a U-bolt type of mounting mechanism which secures the GPS to your bike and prevents it from falling off no matter how rough you decide to ride your bike.
Sun shield and IPX7 rating
What would a GPS for motorcycles be without a proper sun shield and proper waterproofing? Well, in this regard, you won’t have to worry about the Rider since it features a shield that greatly reduces glare and has an IPX7 waterproof rating. This means that even if you are to insert it 1 meter underwater, it would still continue to function for up to thirty minutes. For most weather conditions, that’s certainly great to say the least. And honestly speaking, if it’s pouring so heavily that it damages an IPX7 rated device, then you probably shouldn’t be riding your bike in the first place.
So how does it achieve such a high rating? Well, TomTom decided that it would not add a built-in speaker, but that’s no biggie, since riding on the highway, you would certainly be unable to hear it anyway. However, the Rider does indeed feature a Bluetooth headset (scala rider) from Cardo Systems. This is a really great headset that comes with a one point twenty five inch speaker (flat) which attaches to the interior of your helmet with Velcro and a windproof microphone. At 75 Mph, the headset did have a pretty good sound quality and you could clearly hear what’s coming out of it.
But let’s talk about screen quality for a bit, since we didn’t focus on that at all and we’re talking about a GPS unit. Okay, so the screen on the Rider is 4.3 inches and unfortunately doesn’t have a function that converts text to speech. This is a bit disappointing, because given the premium you have to pay for this unit, it should’ve definitely included it. However, it does indeed support multi-segment routing. As far as the language support goes, the interface was designed to support twenty one languages and you can speak commands in as many as thirty four languages.
One of the things you’ll love about the Rider is that it features quite a large li-ion battery that’s able to get you about 4h of operation on just one charge. If you plan on riding your bike for longer than that, then you don’t have to worry about it. That’s because TomTom has included a cable that you’ll be able to attach directly to the motorcycle’s battery and plug it into the mounting bracket. Sure, when you connect and route the battery cable you’re also going to take longer to install everything, but if you plan on taking long road trips, then you may want to spend a bit more time for wiring it properly.
If you’re using the default settings, then the Rider will display in map-view mode. If you’ve used other GPS systems from TomTom, then you’re probably already familiar with the fact that if you want to access the menu system, you’ll just need to tap on your screen (anywhere). Bear in mind though that when the bike is in motion and the GPS is mounted on the bracket, by tapping it once, you’ll only be able to bring a simplified version of the menu. This version includes 4 essential options, such as Sound On/Off, Clear Route, Add favorite and Navigate to. The icons are quite large, so you won’t have a problem tapping them even if you wear gloves. All in all, while not cheap, the Rider is quite the performer and on top of being loaded with useful features, it’s also reasonably priced, bike-friendly and very durable as well.
Garmin Zumo 660LM GPS Motorcycle Navigator
A bright touchscreen, tons of features, but difficult charging using the USB port.
If this is the first time you’re shopping for a new GPS unit for your bike, then it may be a bit confusing for you and that’s understandable. You may be going shopping with the idea that the GPS you need to get is one that has a giant screen like those used in GPS for cars, but that’s not really what you should focus on. In fact, for motorcycles, you should consider getting a GPS that tolerates high vibration levels, can be easily mounted on your bike, is waterproof and comes with visual and spoken navigation.
All of these features and more are luckily available with the Garmin Zumo 660. Not only does it have a wonderful bright touchscreen that measures four point three inches, but it’s easily mountable, it’s durable and equally great at navigation. With more screen real estate you also get larger buttons and icons that can be easily operated when having your gloves on. If you take a closer look at the case, you’ll also notice it’s built like a tank and features a waterproof speaker. Besides that, the Garmin Zumo 660 also comes with a standard motorcycle handlebar mount, a carrying case, a USB cable for uploading routes to Google Earth and downloading updates.
Probably one thing you’ll really love to hear about it is that you can now operate it with one hand which is thanks to the massive effort the Garmin designers considered to make this a one of a kind GPS unit. The new mount also integrates all the wiring, including the mini USB, the MP3 jack, the headset and the power as well.
Since I’ve been using this for a couple of months now, it’s simple for me to point out things that are great and not that great about it. For instance, charging it on the computer off the bike by using the USB port is not as easy as you would’ve wished it would be, since the port is now underneath the 5h battery panel, which, in order to turn it on, it needs to be in place. However, the majority of bikers will go ahead and hook up the mount to the motorcycle’s battery instead and easily charge the GPS this way when they maybe stop to get coffee for instance.
It’s also loaded with tons of features, including junction/lane assist vies, a great entertainment system, 3D buildings and a complete set of points of interest, such as ATMs, gas stations, restaurants, hotels , etc. In terms of connectivity, you can easily hook it up to 3 different brands of Bluetooth helmet headsets, which is simply amazing. All in all, the Garmin Zumo 660 is indeed a great GPS unit that does its job well, but expect to pay a premium for all this functionality and let’s not forget its intuitive and amazing overall design.
Garmin Zumo 390LM 4.3-Inch Motorcycle GPS Navigator
Incredibly small, light and comes with a massive 18h battery life.
From cars to smartphones, basic navigation is easily available in a lot of devices these days, but when it comes to the Garmin Zumo 390LM, it’s definitely not your average motorcycle GPS unit. The first thing you’ll notice about it is just how small it is. Because of that, mounting it will certainly be a breeze, not to mention that if you want, you can also store it in your back pocket for whatever reason.
The Zumo 390LM sports some pretty interesting features, but before we get into those, it’s important to mention its intuitive interface which makes it easy for beginners to use it. On the other hand, the 390LM is also packed with loads of features that experienced users will certainly appreciate a lot. Given the fact it also has a long battery life (7 hours), you certainly won’t have to worry about getting stranded.
The 390LM features a 4.3 inch screen that displays very clear and crisp images readable in any lighting conditions. Even in bright sunlight, the 390LM’s screen manages to soak up ambient light and transfer it to the display in such a way that it acts as a two way reflective mirror. This means you’ll be able to see everything on it clearly without having to worry about battery life.
Performance and weight
If you don’t like heavy GPS units, the 390LM will surprise you with its light weight of just 9.59 oz. While it indeed is light, it does have some amazing performance under its hood, including an electronic compass, a barometric altimeter, multiple navigation screens, but also a very fast CPU and an SD card.
Smartly labeled buttons
You can easily operate the 390LM with one hand and features an interface that is very similar to Windows. This means that in just a few minutes after opening the box, you’ll be able to install it, create routes and store waypoints as well.
Lastly, thanks to the MapSource topology CDs which are a one hundred dollars value, you’ll be introduced to how digital mapping should be like: simple to navigate, extremely detailed, easy to upload and fast. Without a doubt, the Garmin 390LM is by far one of the best motorcycle GPS units out there and not only is it loaded with tons of features, but it’s also very durable, has a small form factor and does everything exactly as it’s supposed to: with great speed and accuracy.
Garmin Zumo 590LM
Amazing connectivity, clear screen quality and 5-star infotainment system.
The Garmin Zumo 590LM was only recently introduced by Garmin and given its specs and overall performance, it does make a big difference in the world of motorcycle GPS units. First of all, what’s very noticeable is it’s large five inch touchscreen which is the largest you’ll ever find on the market today. Since it’s sunlight readable, fuel resistant and glove friendly, using it is going to be a breeze. However, as a rider, you also need to be always connected on the road besides enjoying your ride. In this regard, the Zumo 590LM was designed with incredible infotainment options and navigation features that can help you make the most of your ride. It is Pandora, iPod and iPhone compatible and also includes an MP3 player which allows you to easily control your music from the display. Vital info on the go The Zumo 590LM provides essential information on the go, so you can always know exactly if there are any traffic congestions you should avoid or if the weather is going to be in your favor or not. It provides this info through the Smartphone Link2 applications, but it also offers spoken directions heard in your helmet and hands-free phone control. Speaking of connectivity, the Zumo 590LM is fully compatible with the Garmin VIRB action camera four and the Garmin Tire Pressure Monitor System 3. Other premium navigation features you may be very happy to know this bad boy supports include Active Lane Guidance, Garmin Real Directions and round trip routing.
Great on-the-road view
Featuring dual-orientation, the Zumo 590LM allows you to easily position it horizontally in order to get a much larger view. However, if you want to see more of the route ahead, then you can just position it vertically. Given the fact it comes with a glove friendly and high sensitivity display, entering info is as simple as shifting gears. You’ll absolutely love the refined and overall intuitive interface that keeps the driving map permanently on the screen and shows extra info in slide-in variations, including real-time traffic and points of interest along your route.
Because it aims at helping you stay connected on the road, the Zumo 590LM comes with many infotainment features. For instance, you can connect with it to a Bluetooth enabled headset or smartphone to hear navigation commands, but also receive and make calls. If you want, you can easily call points of interest as well by using the Bluetooth interface. This is great for a quick stop for fuel and food or last minute change of plans.
Listening to your favorite tunes has never been easier and that’s because the 590LM features an MP3 player that is compatible with Pandora, your iPhone and iPod. Therefore, it’s simple to control your favorite music just by interacting with the display. And if that weren’t enough, thanks to the Curvy Roads routing implemented by Garmin, you can now easily navigate to winding rides. With this function you can easily plan your ride based on your location, distance and time. All you have to is input the info and 590LM will do the rest. With that being said, it’s easy to realize the 590LM was designed to be one of the best motorcycle GPS units on the market and it definitely manages to rank high in most online reviews. Not only is it loaded with useful features, but it has an amazing screen, it can be mounted easily and it also has an infotainment system that you’ll be dying to use even when you aren’t riding!
Final Verdict: Which is the best one?
In life, there are those who are satisfied with the basic minimum and then there are those who want the very best and finest things life has to offer. If you’re currently looking for the most advanced motorcycle GPS to make the most of your daily rides, then without a doubt the model you should be going for is none other than the Garmin Zumo 590LM (View Product on Amazon.com).
Not only does it have a glove friendly, sunlight readable and 5 inch dual orientation screen to help you always know where you’re going, but it’s also built like a tank and can easily withstand the harsh weather and fuel vapors. Given the fact it offers free lifetime map updates and has an amazing infotainment system, it’s by far the most advanced and feature rich motorcycle GPS unit you can currently buy!